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VENTURA COUNTY WEEKEND | BEST BETS

Saturday

February 15, 1996

EUROPE, ANYONE?

When the Ventura County Chamber Orchestra performs its "Evening in Europe" concert, a slice of regional history will be on display. Regular conductor Burns Taft will pass the baton to Frank Salazar, the founding conductor and 30-year veteran of the now-defunct Ventura County Symphony. In what will be Salazar's first return to the podium locally in a few years, the orchestra will perform works by Mozart--featuring pianist John Novacek--and Haydn, Spanish composer Joaquin Turina and Maria Margherita Grimani, an 18th-century Venetian nun. The concert, beginning at 8 p.m., will be held at the Ventura College Theater on Loma Vista Road. Tickets: $18-$28. Information: 648-3146.

HEAVY STUFF

Do you temporarily forget about running down that pedestrian who can't tell red from green the second that "Stairway to Heaven" comes on your favorite classic rock FM station? Every time you hear "Black Dog" do you want to change Fido's name? Did it break your heart when Led Zeppelin went away or whenever you hear "I Can't Quit You Baby"? Well, Led Zep is still gone, but the next best thing, Led Zepagain, a most reverent Led Zep cover band, will provide the "Communication Breakdown" and more when they tear it up at The Bar, 281 W. Main St., Ventura. With more than seven years of experience, the Ventura-based band Led Zepagain is usually on the road; this gig marks a rare hometown appearance. Opening the proceedings at 9 p.m. will be Guy Martin & Rude Mood, a young guitarist who has heard Stevie Ray Vaughan before. Cover charge: $5. Call 648-7227.

SUNDAY

JAZZ BENEFIT

The 66 California restaurant in Ventura will host a benefit show for keyboard veteran Les McCann to help defray expenses incurred by a stroke last year and continuing physical therapy. McCann's good friend and fellow musician, trumpeter Jeff Elliott, has organized a gathering of talented musicians from Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles. McCann will also be on hand to play and to chat with visitors. At the show, from 5 to 9 p.m., concert-goers can peruse and purchase some of McCann's artworks. A donation of $18 or more is requested. The restaurant is at--where else--66 California St. For more information, call 648-2266.

UP THE COAST

* The Santa Barbara Symphony returns to the stage under the guidance of Gise le Ben-Dor for two performances at the Arlington Theater. Guest pianist Tzimon Barto will join the symphony, performing Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony, the "Pathetique," plus works by Silvestre Revueltas and Rachmaninoff. Performances: 8 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: Saturday, $36-$17; Sunday, $27-$15. Call 898-9626.

* Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts will open Saturday with the hit musical fantasy "Damn Yankees!" in the Marian Theatre, Allan Hancock College, Santa Maria. Character Joe Boyd trades his soul to become a star baseball player, and later yearns to return to his old self. Show times: 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets: $18-$12. Call (800) 727-2123.

* A tribute concert to the late jazz great Gerry Mulligan, led by bassist Hersh Hamel, will be held at 9 p.m. Saturday at The Jazz Hall, 29 E. Victoria St., Santa Barbara. Hamel will be joined by saxophonist Bill Perkins, trumpeter Steve Huffsteter, pianist Dick Shreve and drummer Billy Mintz. The group will perform works composed by Mulligan and others. Tickets: $10. Call 963-0404.

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